Saturday - January 22, 2011

Conditioning Process in Humans 

Being an engineer and devoted to studying subjects that are actually difficult, I never took a psychology course.  Yesterday I learned for the first time of the "Little Albert" experiment.  This was a variation on the famous Pavlov's dog experiment.  Pavlov showed that if you ring a bell every time you feed a dog, then after some time if you simply ring a bell, the dog will begin salivating.

Image(s) provided courtesy of Little Albert experiment was along the same lines but with a 9 month old child.  Back in 1920 John B. Watson showed the boy a white rat and then crashed a pipe to make to poor boy cry.  Eventually, just showing the white rat made the boy cry.  Even a white fluff ball or a santa claus beard would make him cry.  Little Albert died of hydroencephalitis six years later, so we don't know of any long term affects of such conditioning.

Today such a test would be considered unethical, of course.  Thankfully most of the scientific community has developed an ethic to limit the behavior of people who would do terrible things to children in the name of science.

Sadly, there are no ethics in politics.  Politicians have conditioned us to accept almost anything.  When the income tax was created it was only a very small percent of income and only a small population that were taxed.  Supporters of the income tax scoffed at the idea that the tax could ever be raised to as high as 10%.  A century later we would be elated to be limited to a mere 10%.  We have been conditioned.

But in the news this week was another, more horrifying example of our conditioning.  Sixty years after the 16th Amendment allowing an income tax, the Supreme Court allowed children to be brutally murdered before they are born.  Supporters of abortion scoffed at the idea that it will lead to infanticide.  It's a woman's right to choose, and the court limited abortion to the first trimester, and then to the point of viability in Casey.  

As the democrat party latched on to the abortion issue as a vote getter and party unifier, the message got more and more strident; abortion is a fundamental right and no one can question it.  The conditioning continued, even to the point of advocacy of "partial birth" abortions, where the child is born, except its head is still in the birth canal.  While the body dangles outside the mother, a butcher then punctures the child's skull and vacuums out his brain.  Even though advocates for partial birth abortion lost that battle, they won the war of conditioning.  Supporters of abortion demonized opponents of partial birth abortion as the equivalent of nazis and slave owners and others that deny human rights. 

So now a man has been arrested for infanticide.  For decades a doctor in Pennsylvania has been delivering babies and then killing them.  He used scissors and cut the children's spinal chords.  The outrage from abortion supporters has been subdued and largely absent.  The conditioning is nearly complete.  Abortion, begun as a practice to help women choose when to have babies (even though there is no longer any stigma to having children out of wedlock and contraceptives are readily available), has become a means of infanticide.  Some people apparently no longer need any legal pretense of keeping his head inside the mother before killing him.  

The government has gained more power than ever intended.  The president, a supporter of partial birth abortion, has taken control of our medical industry.  The warnings that the government will convene death panels are being dismissed by the same people who would readily kill children.  We have been conditioned and coarsened to accept government control of our lives, and that will necessarily lead to government control of the end of our lives.  

We don't need Pavlov to see conditioning.  We don't need John B. Watson to show that conditioning works on people.  We are conditioned.  This time the butcher will go to jail, but the category of those allowed to be killed will continue to expand unless we reject the conditioning.  We need to restore our ethic of freedom and rights of all men, including those not yet escaped from the womb.

Image provided courtesy of

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